My biggest writing block has been Yom Kippur. I just feel like there are no words for how meaningful it was spend the holiest day of the year in the holiest city in the world. Walking to the Kotel after Kol Nidre services (a 2 mile walk each way, while fasting!) walking in the middle of normally busy streets, their traffic lights changed to blinking reminders that tonight was different. The helpful people we met who walked us to synagogue after we got lost and my group leader's husband who whispered a hushed translation of the Ne'illah sermon. We spent the day synagogue hopping, not exactly sure if we were looking for the place that felt most like home or the most completely different, but by the end of the day it was clear that it didn't matter what you were looking for. The experience itself was enough.
Post Yom Kippur marked the official start of our first vacation. 10 days completely to ourselves! Although it does sound funny to me to talk about a vacation from the program, because despite the volunteer hours, Hebrew classes and Beit Midrash, I often feel as if my life is a vacation. I am so blessed.
Anyway, we took full advantage of our time off to do some serious relaxing and a exploring. First to Petach Tikvah to visit our friends on ITF, to the beach in Tel Aviv and finally to Haifa, were three of my friends and I took an Israeli cruise line to the Greek Islands of Rhodes and Kos. Being the only Americans was a fun badge of honor, and we were able to meet some great people, eat way too much food, play tourist and relax some more.
|Clock Tower on Rhodes|
Let's see...what else?
Hiking Adventures right in Karmiel
Beach days in Tel Aviv
Pot Luck Shabbat Dinners
Taking in a Shlomo Artzi concert like true Israelis, even if we didn't know a single song
So that's much of what I've been up to. What have you been up to? More to come sooner than last time, I promise!